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I could not imagine a classic computer without floppy drives.


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I think we should not be so quick to dismiss and eliminate floppy media from our classic rigs, no matter what system you got, PC, or 8/16 bitter.. These are integral parts of computing as it was back in the day. And every CC should have a period-correct drive or two.

 

However, you don't HAVE to use the disks, use modern flash media for the bulk of your activity.

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I still have a TEAC 5.25"/3.5" combo floppy drive in my 233MHz Pentium MMX (DOS and Windows 95 dual-boot). I've also got a stack of spare 3.5" drives in reserve, and one or two 5.25" drives as well. On the 8-bit side, I still use physical disks with my Atari systems, with images via the APE/ProSystem as a secondary solution.

 

When exactly did the average off-the-shelf PC phase out the floppy drive, anyway? Around 2003-2004, I seem to recall, at least in the US.

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I'm not sure what you mean, but I've easily got a half dozen different vintage computers without floppy drives of which the majority never had a such option in the first place or it would require a lot of extra interfaces to attach one and not really an important media format for those systems. And no, obviously I am not speaking of Pentium class PCs or newer.

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I say "meh" to the notion of clinging to a particular removable storage medium, even if it was once the only thing available. To do otherwise is a failure of imagination.

Like insisting that all automobile fuel contain lead.

Or that storage media in Star Trek should be called "tapes"
https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/99404/is-there-an-explanation-for-the-use-of-tapes-in-star-trek

Classic computers used tape drives too, but nobody has nostalgia for them. Storage is storage. We don't wax nostalgic for line printers in lieu of monitors. I will not be overly devoted to sad old floppies.

Somewhat related: I own an Xbox One and over 300 games for it. I never use the optical drive. It might was well not be there. I am fine.

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The few classic machines I have HAVE to have a working example of their then-contemporary storage, tape or disk. Should be complete in that manner. I typically don't use it much, however.

 

I'm talking my early 90's and early 2000's PC's, 5.25 and 3.5.

I'm talking my Apple II, 5.25 and 3.5.

And of course the pocket computers, these are cassette tape only originally. But work fine with modern-day MP3 player and high bit-rate or wav files. Solid state storage for even that!

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Almost all of my floppies are dead today =/ Most of the retail 3.5s are probably okay, but I know the ones that got rewritten often are mostly no good.

 

Most of my 5.25s are pretty corrupt too, but I have three boxes of brand new ones that seem to work fine. I've been using some of them for my Apple IIe.

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This is epic phrasing. It makes perfect sense, but it looks hella weird and we usually see it with "had."

The few classic machines I have HAVE to have a working example

 

I see where you're coming from, you want a museum piece and want to be able to load original media. That's a different statement than your clickbait headline. ;) Yes, sometimes you have to use the methods from the period. Doesn't mean anything else cannot be imagined.

 

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When I was a kid, it was tapes or nothing for a long time. Floppies might as well have been super high-density microSD cards to me.

 

post-2410-0-94264700-1524055829_thumb.png

 

In the future, of course, they're called "food cards."

 

post-2410-0-63063000-1524055949.jpg

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I can't imagine a classic computer without a tape drive, preferably a period correct one with high error rate so that you get the authentic experience of making several attempts at loading your software.

 

I swear floppy drives are for impatient people with short attention spans. Wanna know why so many people have ADHD today? Floppy drives!

 

:P

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Almost all of my floppies are dead today =/ Most of the retail 3.5s are probably okay, but I know the ones that got rewritten often are mostly no good.

 

Most of my 5.25s are pretty corrupt too, but I have three boxes of brand new ones that seem to work fine. I've been using some of them for my Apple IIe.

 

I feel your pain. Personally I've fared quite well in terms of readability of all kinds of floppy disks and most other people I discuss with have the same experience, but I know an increasing number of people are reporting about failures. Perhaps your storage options haven't been optimal through the years?

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Classic Computer guys are like Classic Car guys in a large enough group... DIVERSITY OF TASTE & OPINION. If some guys want to mess around with toggle switches, paper tape, cassette tape or floppy drives it's all good. Everyone is in the hobby for different reasons and pursuits. I personally like the newer, cheaper, smaller and more reliable storage methods, but for others it's all good whatever they prefer.

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I generally only use original media with my classic systems, at least my favorite ones. Namely the TRS-80, PET, Apple II, Atari 800, VIC-20, C64, TRS-80 Color, Timex 1000, and IBM (compatible). I guess Aquarius too, and maybe my new ADAM, if I can get it running. :)

 

I've got a CFFA3000 on the way for my Apple IIGS (I hope...I ordered over a month ago with no shipping confirmation yet...), but I'm not attached enough to that particular platform that I need the authenticity. Ditto for some of my lesser-loved game systems like my Genesis, Master System, SNES, and Saturn, for which I'd like to pick up some EverDrives or similar devices (even just for the really good and super-expensive shmups, if nothing else).

 

Otherwise, gimme those tapes, disks, and cartridges. :twisted: :-D

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I was sitting there last night fixing up my old 486, and I caught myself playing with the floppy drives. I ran NDD and other NU seemingly for the fun and nostalgia.

 

I still remain impressed, and dismayed, that the disks have held up well and retained the information entrusted to them.. despite what advertising would say when they wanted you to move toward a new storage medium.

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Well I wouldn't own an Apple II without a floppy drive because I have a ton of my own old floppies. But the problem is a lot of them are breaking down - I mean to digitize what's left of them, and at that point I'm not sure I'll ever break out the disks themselves again. There will come a day when no floppy disk will even work anymore. A lot of these are going on 30-40 years old and they were never meant to last that long. And I don't think anybody's making new 5 1/4" disks. 3 1/2" I'm not sure; I did buy a new 10-pack a little while ago and they didn't look particularly old if they were new old stock.

 

I do own both a Floppy Emu and now a CFFA3000 for my Apple II. The CFFA makes it dead easy to import a disk image (it's a built in function). So once that's done, I think my floppies will be more like museum relics, just something to look at. I understand that putting a floppy into a drive and hearing it make all the sounds it makes are part of the experience, but it's just not a reliable experience anymore, and will only get less so over time.

 

I have several other classic computers but the only other floppy drive I have is an SF354 for my 520ST, and it's pretty much useless to me because I have no ST floppy disks. At one point I had an Atari 1050 to go with my 800XL, but I got rid of that a long time ago. That thing was HUGE, and it just took up space unnecessarily because again, with an SIO2SD, there's just no need for it if you don't already have a stack of floppies (and I don't, for anything but the Apple II).

 

I like using real old hardware but floppy emulators are the one bit of modern technology that I think can really improve the experience without fundamentally altering it. They make everything more reliable, smaller, and they let you play a ton more games and use a ton more software than you could otherwise, if you had to go out and buy everything used. You do miss out on the satisfaction of slipping a disk in the drive, closing it up and then hearing it whir around and make scratchy noises, but I've decided I can live without that most of the time. (Especially if it also means I *don't* have to hear the awful drive error noises that a lot of old 5 1/4" drives made!)

Edited by spacecadet
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Do some emulators simulate the disk-grinding noise? I know FS-UAE does. I agree that it does add a little something to the "experience."

Yeah FS-UAE for sure. I thought there was an 8-bit emulator that emulated the beeps too.

 

It's cute, but I prefer emulators that 'cheat' and load the floppy disks as fast as possible, and not emulate the actual speed of the floppy.

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Do some emulators simulate the disk-grinding noise? I know FS-UAE does. I agree that it does add a little something to the "experience."

 

Dear, $_DEITY, no no no no no a million times no. It is an insulting piss-shake at nostalgia completely neglecting the reality that many disks have unique and easily identified sounds, as does each drive, each track position, each step on each track, etc. The sampled sounds played by emulators is not even a reasonable attempt at replicating the experience and should burn in the deepest bit bucket of digital history.

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Dear, $_DEITY, no no no no no a million times no. It is an insulting piss-shake at nostalgia completely neglecting the reality that many disks have unique and easily identified sounds, as does each drive, each track position, each step on each track, etc. The sampled sounds played by emulators is not even a reasonable attempt at replicating the experience and should burn in the deepest bit bucket of digital history.

 

:lolblue: :lolblue: :lolblue: :lolblue: :lolblue: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lolblue: :lolblue:

 

But do you like them?

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:lolblue: :lolblue: :lolblue: :lolblue: :lolblue: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lolblue: :lolblue:

 

But do you like them?

 

Just sayin'.

 

I'm still a bit sad none of the higher density floppy formats caught on. Saw some 250mb SuperFloppies at a Salvation Army a year or two ago. Should've bought 'em, but what would I use them for?

 

I very much loved the LS-120 but the Zip Drive definitely held competition as I could far more easily obtain one for the Amiga. I still have a number of 100MB Zip disks that I used to boot my computer into different environments if I wanted: music, games, programming, etc. so that I would not have to clutter up a single boot drive.

 

Zip and Jaz were a thing for what felt like a long time to me. Funny to think that 100MB was "a lot" of data ...but it was painful when they got the "click of death" and you lost it all.

 

I guess I am luck to have never experienced that. Actually quite thankful as I read about it enough times to make me quite leery of using the Zips, but I stuck to them nonetheless.

 

My biggest gripe these days is that DSDD 3.5" disks are NOT unobtainium but you will see HD disks used for DD formats and even sold as such. That grinds my gears almost as much as those emulated floppy sounds.

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100MB is...

 

About 23 copies of the Bible:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10

 

Over 400 copies of Tom Sawyer:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/74

 

3-4 copies of Webster's dictionary:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/29765

 

Over 100 copies of The Odyssey:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1727

 

Still a lot of data. We're just used to even more. :)

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I do own both a Floppy Emu and now a CFFA3000 for my Apple II. The CFFA makes it dead easy to import a disk image (it's a built in function). So once that's done, I think my floppies will be more like museum relics, just something to look at. I understand that putting a floppy into a drive and hearing it make all the sounds it makes are part of the experience, but it's just not a reliable experience anymore, and will only get less so over time.

I see the situation as having the drives up and running very nostalgic. And having the ability to make a disk from an image stored in modern devices makes the experience so much better. You do not have to worry about reliability or data loss. Ever. Disk goes bad, make another one.

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